My Take on The Persuaders

If there was one show I could revamp for today it would be The Persuaders:

If I re-did it I would Make it a meaner and nastier show where two rich men are persuaded by a judge leading a group of men who use the two t right their wrongs they couldn't.

The American on the show would be a rap mogul based on Sean Combs and Jay-Z. Someone who has gotten far enough away from the streets and his background that he can leave it behind. His being in Europe would be because of a new obsession with racing and especially Formula One.

The Britain would be based on Ewan McGregor and Richard Branson: the gentleman adventurer who has made his fortune and now spends his time trying to press him self on to new goals. The kind of guy who has ridden a motorcycle around the world and got to space even as a tourist.

I would have the two of them meet in a similar fashion as the original series, only instead of a race through the streets of the Med I would have them race on an F-1 track trying out new cars for their team.


2007 SchellShockers Schedule Announced

The schedule for the New Orleans ShellShockers 2007 season has been announced. Looks like they will playing at Muss-Bertolino stadium again. Also, teams have been added in Mississippi and Baton Rouge.



In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead



Below you see promo spots for The Riches. When I worked on it it was called Lowlife. I was the office production assistant for the pilot episode which was shot here in New Orleans. I hope the fight int he bathroom is still there since I got to help somewhat with that when the stuntmen were blocking the sequence.

You will also see below the promo spots the badge from the movie Hot Fuzz from the guys who brought you Shaun of the Dead and Spaced.

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The Riches Promo Spot #1

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The Riches Promo Spot #2

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The Riches Promo Spot #3

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The Riches Promo Spot #4

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Hot Fuzz Badge

Because you all need to know now:



Philosophy and/in Hitchcock


Black Diamond Detective Agency Trailer

Trailer for a new graphic novel by Eddie Campbell. Its got trains and cowboys, how can you go wrong?



Stagger Lee on largehearted boy

Public Domain MP3's


No Spike Lee Katrina Show .. So Far

Looks like Spike Lee's Katrina inspired show isn't going to be picked up by NBC:

On the Air

NBC spikes Lee
Peacock network pulls plug on director's post-K drama series

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Dave Walker

HOLLYWOOD -- "NoLa" is no more, at least on NBC.

The network announced Wednesday that the prospective post-Katrina TV drama, created by director Spike Lee and which was to be shot on location in New Orleans, made it no further in the development process than pilot-script stage, and now won't be made.

"There were a lot of provocative characters and some really provocative issues, and (it was) very, very well-written," NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said in an interview at the Television Critics Association January press tour. "It ultimately (lacked) the framework for what could make a viable network series. I think there's a series there, just not for the network. The framework didn't seem as clear as I would've liked.

"We were going around and around with Spike, and there's a point where you say, 'Look, he doesn't need the practice. Why turn it unpleasant?' We just agreed to not do it."

NBC first announced the project in July, a few weeks before the debut of Lee's Hurricane Katrina documentary for HBO, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts."

In one later published account, Lee said the series would be made in the style of Italian neorealism films such as "The Bicycle Thief" and employ a multicultural cast, including some of the people featured in "Levees."

Lee hired screenwriter Sid Quashie to pen a pilot script for the series, the first step in the development process after the acceptance of a series-concept "pitch."

The script submitted by Lee and Quashie "was trying to be a bit of sweeping saga, hitting a number of different touchpoints in society," Reilly said. "From centering on a psychologist who's specializing in grief counseling, to police who have been overwhelmed with some of the situations they've been dealing with down there."

Another character in the pilot script, Reilly added, is "a business magnate" who is turning Katrina recovery into an opportunity by exploiting locals, a story arc "dealing with some of the graft there."

Reilly said the script had an element of dark humor in it -- one of the strong points of "Levees" -- and that Lee would've likely greatly enhanced that aspect of the script while directing the pilot.

"There was some real texture to it," Reilly said. "There's no question he would've brought a whole other layer to it directorially. I think that's kind of the way he paints in his mind. But in TV, especially when you've got to knock out 22 (episodes) on a tight timetable, it's just a little harder to work that way."

Reilly, who helped develop the gritty drama "The Shield" at the FX cable network before coming to NBC, added that Lee and NBC parted on good terms and that Lee has been released to shop the concept elsewhere.

"We let him have it back," Reilly said. "We never got to some angry, ugly place. That was the spirit of it from the get-go. We were going to try this. If it works, great. If not, let's move on."

A phone call for comment to Lee's New York City office was unreturned.

. . . . . . .

TV columnist Dave Walker can be reached at dwalker@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3429.


Inarritu Article from the New Statesman

Spielberg Article from VQR


Books in 2007

Basket Case
Skinny Dip

On to Nature Girl, the last of Hiaasen.



The Astronaut Farmer Trailer

On Filming Atlas Shrugged

Piece on the attempts to film Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged (the filmd adaptation of The Fontain sucks me in everytime I catch it on TCM):

The challenge of distilling Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

By Kimberly Brown

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Back in the 1970s, Albert S. Ruddy, the producer of "The Godfather," first approached Ayn Rand to make a movie of her novel "Atlas Shrugged." But Rand, who had fled the Soviet Union and gone on to inspire capitalists and egoists everywhere, worried aloud, apparently in all seriousness, that the Soviets might try to take over Paramount to block the project.

"I told her, 'The Russians aren't that desperate to wreck your book,'" Ruddy recalled in a recent interview.

Rand's paranoia, as Ruddy remembers it, seems laughable. But perhaps it was merely misplaced. For so many people have tried and failed to turn the book she considered her masterpiece into a movie that it could easily strike a suspicious person as evidence of a nefarious collectivist conspiracy. Or at least of Hollywood's mediocrity.

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Unfilmable Books?


James Cameron Early Avatar Q & A

Harry Knowles has a very early interview with James Cameron about his next project Avatar. The film is slated for release in Summer 2009. I might be the only person who is sad to see Cameron not making more documentaries about the sea.


You got It?

Hot Fuzztival

Looks like it is time for a trip to England. The guys behind Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and the upcomg Hot Fuzz are doing a film festival on the films which inspired Hot Fuzz:

A massive fortnight of non-stop cops and hardcore action to celebrate the release of Hot Fuzz (on Friday 16 February), the new comedy from the team behind Shaun of the Dead. These are some of the films that inspired director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, making them essential viewing if you want to experience the full force of the Fuzz. There’s also a tribute to action maestro Tony Scott, a special double-bill of Point Break and Bad Boys II (a viewing experience straight from Hot Fuzz itself) all focussed around a Centrepiece Preview of Hot Fuzz on Saturday 10th. We hope to have Edgar Wright on hand to introduce individual films during the season, but keep checking www.ica.org.uk for up-to-date information and confirmation. In the meantime, visit the website for the director’s own take on the titles in the season.


New Statesman- To Have and Have Not

Article on relationships between actors in and from films. Actually pretty good and not just Hollywood gossip:

From Bogart and Bacall to Brad and Angelina, Hollywood relationships have always reflected the romantic values to which we aspire

You must remember this. Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is looking tattered and torn, but pleased with himself all the same. He has solved the mystery, sent the bad guys packing and told the cops all they need to know in order to look like they've been on the case. "You've forgotten one thing," says Vivian Sternwood (played by Lauren Bacall) - "me." "What's wrong with you?" asks Marlowe. Vivian moves toward him: "Nothing you can't fix." And the credits roll - over a close-up of two cigarettes in an ashtray, their coils of smoke entwining.

What kind of picture is The Big Sleep (1946)? The Raymond Chandler novel on which it is based is a winding and weighty detective thriller. But Howard Hawks's film, which follows Chandler's story pretty closely, is an altogether sunnier number, a lighter-than-air romantic comedy ballasted by the odd thud of a sap, the occasional crackle of gunfire. So it's rather like To Have and Have Not (1944), which took what Hawks called a "piece of junk" by Hemingway and twisted its sententious disquisition on the nature of masculinity into a war-torn bedroom farce: Noël Coward meets the Nazis.

The meeting that really counted in that picture, however, was the one between its two leads, Bogart and Bacall making their debut together. It was fascinating enough that these two really did fall for one another while making the film. Better still that, in doing so, they created a new kind of cinema couple - one that refused to grant Hollywood's conception of romance its customary restrictions. When Bogart's Harry Morgan makes Bacall's "Slim" walk right round him to prove he has no strings attached, he does so to woo her with a vision of love that acknowledges no ties.



Wired Article on Dakar Rally

Geeky Hot Rodder Takes On Dakar

By Jennifer Kahn
02:00 AM Jan, 05, 2007

LAS VEGAS -- Ronn Bailey's practice car has no windshield. This has been a problem twice: once when the car drove through a swarm of bees, and again when, coming over a low rise, it overtook a startled flock of birds.

At first, I find this troubling. But as we push 100 across the ditch- and boulder-filled south Nevada desert, it becomes clear that there are more pressing things to worry about.

"The rocks are what will get you. You have to learn to spot them," Bailey shouts, wrenching the steering wheel as we clear a four-foot gully. "And they can be hidden! Behind bushes! There's a rock!" He points so suddenly that the car dives sideways and sags frighteningly on its suspension.

I am, in that moment, extremely aware of my neck, which feels as thin and fragile as a daisy stem. "Do you see how focused I am?" Bailey demands. "You've got to keep your focus every second when you're driving. Chess is good practice." I ask Bailey if he plays chess. He says no.

As preparation for the upcoming Dakar Rally -- the venerable 5,400-mile off-road race from Europe to Senegal by way of the Sahara Desert -- Bailey is training now in the desert outside of Las Vegas.

As CEO of Vanguard Integrity Professionals, a Las Vegas-based company that develops security software for major corporate mainframes, Bailey is a strange entry to the world's most dangerous race. Squat and potbellied, with deeply recessed eyes and a ginger pompadour brushed so that he appears to be standing in a permanent high wind, Bailey looks less like a race-car driver than a retired Vegas emcee.

At 57 he is one of the older competitors entered in the 2007 rally. "I have a unique problem," he admits at one point. "Five days into the race, my damn hands swell up." He flexes his fingers slightly to show just how little they can bend. "I can't even hold a cup of coffee."

Today he's taking me for a practice run in his test car: a scrawny off-road buggy with splayed tires and a racer's engine. It's not the rig he'll use in the race (he doesn't want to wreck that one) but it handles the same.

"Dakar is the ultimate race in the world," he says, smoking serial cigarettes with the fidgety energy of someone understimulated. "It's like driving from L.A. to New York, turning around and coming back, then turning around again and driving to Denver -- all off road. Nothing else comes close to it in magnitude."

This year's race, which begins Jan. 6, opens with a traverse of the snowbound Atlas Mountains in Morocco, descends into a thousand-mile crossing of the Sahara, reemerges in Mali, and finally turns west for a homestretch race across the savannah into the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

It's a brutal tour. Created in 1979, after the French racer Thierry Sabine got lost in the desert, the two-week stage race navigates remote terrain via a written book of directions and a GPS crippled to function solely as a compass. (To prevent shortcuts, the route is tagged with hidden GPS waypoints that appear only when the driver gets within a radius of three miles.)


Body of An American Lyrics

The current Celtic Punk I am listening to:

The Body of an American

By Shane MacGowan (1986)

The cadillac stood by the house
And the yanks they were within
And the tinker boys they hissed advice
'Hot-wire her with a pin'
Then we turned and shook as we had a look
In the room where the dead men lay
So big Jim Dwyer made his last trip
To the home where his father's laid

But fifteen minutes later
We had our first taste of whiskey
There was uncles giving lectures
On ancient Irish history
The men all started telling jokes
And the women they got frisky
At five o'clock in the evening
Every bastard there was piskey

Fare thee well going away
There's nothing left to say
Farewell to New York City boys
To Boston and PA
He took them out
With a well-aimed clout
He was often heard to say
I'm a free born man of the USA

He fought the champ in Pittsburgh
And he slashed him to the ground
He took on Tiny Tartanella
And it only went one round
He never had no time for reds
For drink or dice or whores
And he never threw a fight
Unless the fight was right
So they sent him to the war

Fare the well gone away
There's nothing left to say
With a slainte Joe and Erin go
My love's in Amerikay
The calling of the rosary
Spanish wine from far away
I'm a free born man of the USA

This morning on the harbour
When I said goodbye to you
I remember how I swore
That I'd come back to you one day
And as the sunset came to meet
The evening on the hill
I told you I'd always love you
I always did and I always will

Fare thee well gone away
There's nothing left to say
'cept to say adieu
To your eyes as blue
As the water in the bay
And to big Jim Dwyer
The man of wire
Who was often heard to say
I'm a free born man of the USA


What's Left of the Flag

More of the boys for ya:

His eyes they closed and his last breath spoke
he had seen all to be seen
A life once full, now an empty vase
Wilt the blossums on his early grave
Walk away me boy, walk away me boy
And by mornin' we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

Then the rosary beads count them one,
two, three
Fell apart as they hit the floor
In our garb of black we must pay respect
To the colour we're born to mourn
Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

In his place there grew an angry festered wound
Filled with hatred and remorse
Where I'd pick and scratch till the blood it matched
The silent rage not that fills my lungs
For there are many ways to kill a man they say
With bayonet, axe, or sword
But son a bullet fired from a shapeless guise
Leaves but the shell of a Thompson gun

Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

From the East out to the Western shore
Where many men and many more will fall
But no angel flies with me tonight
Till freedom reigns on all
And curse the name for which we slaved our days
Till every man shall his kingdom come
But sure as night turns day
Ends the passion play
Oh my god what have they done
With madman's rage, well they dug our graves
But the dead rise again you fools

Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me


Barroom Hero Lyrics

Already getting the Irish up:

Face down in the gutter,
won't admit defeat though his clothes are soiled and black,
he's a big strong man with a child's mind,
don't you take his booze away... (hey!)

He's been at it for years drinkin balls and beers,
he's a hero to most he meets (hey hey hey!)
but inside he cries black swolen eyes,
this man he sheds no tears.
Now his wife and kids sing a different tune
as they worry bout their daddy dyin (hey hey hey!)
but this arrogant fool breaks every rule
it'll be nothin but pride that kills him

Can he listen no he wont,
that's all she wrote,
he'll be dead before the daylight shines,
but the thoughts and prayers
of a million strong might keep this fool from dying. (x2)

He's a legend in the bar with every scar,
fights a thousand bigger men (hey hey hey)
now he fights and loses
got all the bruises
will someone please step in?
Cause this Irish fools got a great big heart,
he keeps climbing back into the ring (hey hey hey),
in the low down circles where he holds his court,
this man he once was king...


This one still goes out to the Boston Punks and Skins,
a rowdy bunch indeed...
varies from CDs

He's a legend in the bar with every scar,
fights a thousand bigger men (hey hey hey)
now he fights and loses
got all the bruises
will someone please step in?
Cause this Irish fools got a great big heart,
he keeps climbing back into the ring (hey hey hey),
in the low down circles where he holds his court,
this man he once was king...




Home Made Cars

The idea of home made or small batch cars has been on my mind for awhile now. This piece from Paul Pope set me to thinking about it today (by the way, the image there is now my wallpaper).

How far away are we though from people starting to truly have the tools and ability to make their own cars? We always see these really cool concept cars, but rarely do they make it to the market. I remember the Jeep Hurricane, i think that is what it was called, a couple of years ago; I so wanted to see that vehicle hit the market.

With rising gas prices and people having more and more access to technology and tools, I can see people, tinkerers and mechanics, getting together to start crafting their own vehicles, even if they are in small batches or special orders.

Blue Origin: Jeff Bezos' Spaceship

Mysterious Rock in New Jersey

What a weird week of news:

Mysterious object crashes through roof

By CHRIS NEWMARKER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jan 4, 4:35 AM ET

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Authorities were trying to identify a mysterious metallic object that crashed through the roof of a house in eastern New Jersey.

Nobody was injured when the golf-ball sized object, weighing nearly as much as a can of soup, struck the home and embedded itself in a wall Tuesday night. Federal officials sent to the scene said it was not from an aircraft.

The rough-surfaced object, with a metallic glint, was displayed Wednesday by police.

"There's some great interest in what we have here," said Lt. Robert Brightman. "It's rather unusual. I haven't seen anything like it in my career."

He said he hoped to have the object identified within 72 hours, but declined to name the other agencies whose help he has enlisted.

Approximately 20 to 50 rock-like objects fall every day over the entire planet, said Carlton Pryor, a professor of astronomy at Rutgers University.

"It's not all that uncommon to have rocks rain down from heaven," said Pryor, who had not seen the object that struck the Monmouth County home. "These are usually rocky or a mixture of rock and metal."

Pryor said laboratory tests would have to be conducted to determine if the object was a meteorite.

Police received a call Wednesday morning that the metal object had punched a hole in the roof of the single-family, two-story home, damaged tiles on a bathroom floor, and then bounced, sticking into a wall.

The object was heavier than a usual metal object of its size, said Brightman, who added that no radioactivity was detected.

Brightman would not disclose the address of the house or the names of the people who lived there, citing the family's desire to not talk to the media. He would only say that the couple and their adult son live in a township housing development.

Brightman said one man who lives at the home found the object at about 9 p.m. Tuesday after returning from work and hearing from his mother that something had crashed through the roof a few hours earlier.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which sent investigators to the town, did not know where the object came from, said spokeswoman Arlene Murray.

"It's definitely not an aircraft part," she said. "I can't speak beyond that as to what it might be."

In the neighborhood later in the day, residents chatted with each other in the streets about the fallen object, but none said they knew which house had been hit.

Robert Nalven, 55, said nothing this exciting had happened in the six years he's lived in the affluent development. "I'm happy it didn't hit my house," he said.


Interview with Ben Schott of Schott's Miscellany

Variety Rips Off CHUD.com

The headline says it all really. It is the same headline Devin Faraci uses in his article about.

Faraci did a story about a film called Zyzzyx Road and how it only made thirty dollars. The film was released in one theater in Dallas. Well, Faraci's story has been making the rounds if Internet sites. Apparently, Variety decided to do a story on the same topic, but it looks like they even lifted quotes from Faraci's article without giving any credit to him or to Chud.com.

The reporter form Variety should be fired. There is no excuse for a writer to not site their sources. Variety should also make a full public apology to Faraci and Chud.com.

But, you can't expect much out of the publication from Peter Bart who seems increasingly out of touch with the rest of the world and even the people from his business (movies) and the people who support that business.



The Future of Movies

I was going to call this the future of film, but film is a thing now more and more. Movies is the more correct term in my mind.

Anyway, piece from The New Yorker by David Denby looking at the changing way we watch and experience movies, recommend by David Faraci at Chud.com who did his own piece on the same subject.



O'Hare UFO

Heard about this yesterday when All Things Considered interviewed the reporter:

Jon Hilkevitch

In the sky! A bird? A plane? A ... UFO?

Published January 1, 2007

It sounds like a tired joke--but a group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously.

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently. But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

The FAA is not conducting a further investigation, Cory said. The theory is the sighting was caused by a "weather phenomenon," she said.

The UFO report has sparked some chuckles among controllers in O'Hare tower.

"To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," said O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych.

Some of the witnesses, interviewed by the Tribune, said they are upset that neither the government nor the airline is probing the incident.

Whatever the object was, it could have interfered with O'Hare's radar and other equipment, and even created a collision risk, they said.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (the term that extraterrestrial-watchers nowadays prefer over Unidentified Flying Object) was first seen by a United ramp worker who was directing back a United plane at Gate C17, according to an account the worker provided to the National UFO Reporting Center.

The sighting occurred during daylight, about 4:30 p.m., just before sunset.

All the witnesses said the object was dark gray and well defined in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated by different accounts to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter, did not display any lights.

Some said it looked like a rotating Frisbee, while others said it did not appear to be spinning. All agreed the object made no noise and it was at a fixed position in the sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off into the clouds.

Witnesses shaken by sighting

"I tend to be scientific by nature, and I don't understand why aliens would hover over a busy airport," said a United mechanic who was in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 that he was taxiing to a maintenance hangar when he observed the metallic-looking object above Gate C17.

"But I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an [Earth] aircraft," the mechanic said.

One United employee appeared emotionally shaken by the sighting and "experienced some religious issues" over it, one co-worker said.

A United manager said he ran outside his office in Concourse B after hearing the report about the sighting on an internal airline radio frequency.

"I stood outside in the gate area not knowing what to think, just trying to figure out what it was," he said. "I knew no one would make a false call like that. But if somebody was bouncing a weather balloon or something else over O'Hare, we had to stop it because it was in very close proximity to our flight operations."

Some joke, others research

The databases of various UFO-watching groups are full of accounts filed by pilots about sightings of unknown aircraft and anomalies that affected navigational equipment onboard planes.

Whether any of the UFO incidents are real or merely the result of individual perceptions, some experts say the events pose a potential safety risk to pilots and their passengers.

"There have been documented cases where safety appears to have been implicated, and more and more we are coming to the point of view that we are dealing with an intelligent phenomenon," said Richard Haines, science director at the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, a private agency.

"We must be proactive before an aircraft goes down," said Haines, a former chief of the Space Human Factors Office at NASA's Ames Research Center.

Haines is investigating the O'Hare incident. He said he has determined that no weather balloons were launched in the vicinity of O'Hare on Nov. 7.

"It's absurd that the military would be conducting aerial test flights" near the airport, Haines said.

All the witnesses to the O'Hare event, who included at least several pilots, said they are certain based on the disc's appearance and flight characteristics that it was not an airplane, helicopter, weather balloon or any other craft known to man.

United denies UFO report

They're not sure what was hanging out for several minutes in the restricted airspace, but they are upset that no one in power has taken the matter seriously.

A United spokeswoman said there is no record of the UFO report. She said United officials do not recall discussion of any such incident.

"There's nothing in the duty manager log, which is used to report unusual incidents," said United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy. "I checked around. There's no record of anything."

The pilots of the United plane being directed back from Gate C17 also were notified by United personnel of the sighting, and one of the pilots reportedly opened a windscreen in the cockpit to get a better view of the object estimated to be hovering 1,500 feet above the ground.

The object was seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the solid overcast skies, which the FAA reported had 1,900-foot cloud ceilings at the time.

"It was like somebody punched a hole in the sky," said one United employee.

Witnesses said they had a hard time visually tracking the object as it streaked through the dense clouds.

It left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer, the witnesses said, adding that the hole disappeared within a few minutes.

The United employees interviewed by the Tribune spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some said they were interviewed by United officials and instructed to write reports and draw pictures of what they observed, and that they were advised by United officials to refrain from speaking about what they saw.

Federal agency backtracks

Like United, the FAA originally told the Tribune that it had no information on the alleged UFO sighting. But the federal agency quickly reversed its position after the newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

An internal FAA review of air-traffic communications tapes, a step toward complying with the Tribune request, turned up the call by the United supervisor to an FAA manager in the airport tower, Cory said.

Cory said the weather might have factored into what the witnesses thought they saw.

"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," she said. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low [cloud] ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things. That's our take on it."


Contact Getting Around at jhilkevitch@tribune.com or c/o the Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Read recent columns at chicagotribune.com/gettingaround


FAA is saying it was a "waether phenomenon:"

The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that a United supervisor had called the control tower at O'Hare, asking if anyone had spotted a spinning disc-shaped object. But the controllers didn't see anything, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," Cory said. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low (cloud) ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things."

The FAA is not investigating, Cory said.


Smoking Aces Script

Latina Superheroes

Books in 2007

Basket Case

New Year begins same as the old year with Carl Hiaasen. Two more to go.